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I Belong


Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

January 21st, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: High Fantasy, Livia Blackburne, Midnight Thief, Midnight Thief Series, Review, Young Adult

Midnight ThiefTitle: Midnight Thief

Author: Livia Blackburne

Genre: YA High Fantasy

Series: Midnight Thief (Book #1)

Publication Date: July 8, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 376 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423176383 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423176381 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.

Quick & Dirty: Gripping high fantasy that is impossible to put down.  With amazing characters, a gorgeous world, and wonderful adventure this is a must read for all high fantasy fans!

Opening Sentence: This  job could kill her.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Kyra has been an orphan ever since she can remember and for years she grew up in the streets. Eventually she learned how to provide for herself by stealing what she needs. She never takes more than she needs to survive, but sometimes it would be nice to have more. When she is offered a place with the Assassins Guild, she doesn’t know if she will be able to refuse — even if it is the right thing to do. Working for the Guild will provide her with more money than she would ever need and the opportunity to help kids that are less fortunate like her. But even though the Guild’s intentions are honorable, the way they go about it to fulfill their goals isn’t always the best, and joining them would mean that Kyra would have to do things that go against everything she believes in. But the leader of the Guild is very persuasive and the reward might be too great to pass up.

Tristam has always known that he would be a knight.  All his brothers, his father, and even his grandfather were knights.  Tristam is almost finished with his training and he plans to move back out to the country and join the road patrols. But his plans change when one of his closest friends is brutally murdered by Demon Riders. Instead of retiring to the quite countryside he asks to be assigned to work under the Ministry of Defense in hopes of catching the killer of his best friend. His new job brings him into the city and face to face with a thief that has extraordinary talents.

Kyra is such an amazing heroine. She is witty, interesting and a very well rounded character.  Having grown up on the streets she has always had to steal to survive.  She is an amazing thief and can do things that most other people would think impossible.  I think my favorite thing about Kyra is that even though she doesn’t always follow the law she tries to always do the right thing.  She has made some terrible mistakes in her life and there have been some pretty dire consequences because of those bad decisions. But Kyra takes responsibly for her choices and she tries to make amends whenever it is required.  She has many amazing qualities, but she also has lot of realistic flaws that made her a very believable character. She was a very easy character to connect with I loved reading every minute of her story.

Tristam is an adorable guy and I instantly loved him.  He has lived a somewhat sheltered life until very recently and I really respected how loyal and honest he is. He is also really intelligent which is always a very attractive quality to have.  He is a soldier and therefore is suppose to follow whatever he is commanded to do, but I love that he has a rebellious streak whenever it comes to doing the right thing. He is someone that you can cheer for and easily fall in love with.  His relationship with Kyra is very subtle and develops very slowly throughout the story. For the most part their relationship isn’t romantic, but I there is hope that it could turn into that in future books. Overall, I totally adored Tristam and think that he is a great male character.

Midnight Thief was an exceptional story that I loved from start to finish. Going into this book I had heard a lot of good things about it so I had pretty high expectations and it did not disappoint.  The world that Blackburne created was gorgeous and descriptive! There was great adventure and tons of suspense that definitely keeps you intrigued throughout the entire book. Surprisingly the story also really pulled at my heartstrings as well. There were lots of emotional moments intermixed with all of the action that was constantly streaming through every page, which made me love the story even more. There is very little romance in the book but there was just enough to satisfy me and leave lots of room for more in future books. I loved all the characters and seriously can’t wait to be inside their heads again. The ending wrapped things up very nicely but it also left you wanting to know more about this world and the amazing characters that reside in it.  I can honestly tell you that after reading this, Daughter of Dusk, has jumped to the very top of my most anticipated reads of 2015! This book was a total home run for me and I would highly recommend it to every young adult fantasy fan!

Notable Scene:

The stonework didn’t begin at ground level, but there was a ledge above the first floor. Using a nearby barrel as a step, she jumped and caught the ledge, pulling herself over. She stood for a moment, belly to the wall, probing it with her fingers. The rock would support her weight. She took a breath and dug her fingers into two of the deeper carvings. One foot went up next, and then she pushed herself up as she reached for a higher handhold. Soon, she had worked out a rhythm and climbed steadily up the side of the building.

Her spirits lifted as she climbed. This was what she could do, and do well. Kyra was aware of her audience and, after the day’s frustrations, couldn’t resist showing off a little. Her swings were higher than usual, and her final jump from the stonework to the window perhaps more dramatic than it needed to be. Finally, she hung from the window, her hands clinging to neighboring slots. With another breath, she pulled herself up and slipped an arm in. From there, it was a quick scramble to squeeze her head and torso through, and the rest of her body followed.

The bell tower was strangely peaceful. There was a platform where the bell was supposed to be, and everything was covered with a thick layer of dust. From there it was easy to find the stairs back down, and it was indeed about a quarter hour after she started when Kyra turned the bolt and opened the front door. She caught different expressions as the men passed by. Some regarded her with appreciation. Rand stared at her as if seeing her for the first time. More than one looked at her with fear in their eyes, and she caught Alex making a sign to ward off evil spirits. Bacchus’s gaze still wasn’t friendly, but it didn’t hold his usual sneer.

Midnight Thief Series:

0.5 Poison Dance

1. Midnight Thief

2. Daughter of Dusk

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FTC Advisory:  Disney-Hyperion provided me with a copy of Midnight Thief.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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DNF Review: Bloodwitch by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

January 20th, 2015 @ 12:05 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Review Tags: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Bloodwitch, Fantasy, Review, The Maeve'ra Series, Young Adult

BloodwitchTitle: Bloodwitch

Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: The Maeve’ra (Book #1)

Publication Date: May 13th, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages

ISBN-10: 0385743033 (Teens@Random)

ISBN-13: 978-0385743037 (Teens@Random)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

Vance Ehecatl was raised with every luxury he could imagine in a beautiful greenhouse within the powerful empire of Midnight. Vampires are the only guardians Vance has ever known since he was abandoned by his shapeshifter family as a baby quetzal, and he is grateful to them for generously providing for all of his needs. When an act of violence forces Vance from his sheltered home, he is startled to meet Malachi Obsidian, a fellow shapeshifter with conflicting ideas about Midnight and its leader, Mistress Jeshickah.

Malachi claims Vance is a bloodwitch, who Jeshickah and her trainers, Jaguar and Taro, are trying to control. Vance doesn’t know anything about the rare and destructive magic Malachi says he possesses, and he can’t believe Jeshickah would use it to hurt others. But when his friends begin falling ill, Vance starts to realize his perfect world may not be as flawless as it seems. Now Vance must decide who to trust—the vampires he’s always relied upon, or the shapeshifters who despise them.

Quick & Dirty: There are redeeming qualities. However, they were not enough to hook me or connect me to the plot or characters, and in the end, I couldn’t do it anymore.

Opening Sentence: Yesterday, as Lady Brina worked on her latest masterpiece, she shared with me a myth she had recently learned about quetzals.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Vance is a shapeshifter in the possession of vampires. He’s always adored his masters, but people begin to warn him — he has powers, and they will use him. Will Vance find the truth and himself?

I got 50% through Bloodwitch before I had to put it down. It killed me inside; this will be the first review book I’ve ever DNFed.  I just couldn’t deal with the book any longer. I had been on vacation when I read this, in Hawaii; the perfect reading environment. Imagine pure white beaches, swaying palm trees, the scent of honeysuckle, a light breeze… Paradise. And yet I simply couldn’t get through this story. I had to push myself to read pages at a time before giving myself a break. It got to a point I realized that I didn’t care what happened, which is rare for me, and I saw no reasons to continue. Nevertheless, I pushed forward in a second attempt when back from Hawaii, wanting to give it a second chance. Once again I failed to connect.

Vance is so naive. I understand, he’s had a sheltered upbringing, but 50% through the book and not a shred of development. He seems so innocent for his age. I didn’t like the other characters either. For example, Vance’s master at the beginning of the story, a vampire whom I found stiff and rude. The thing about books is that usually that makes me feel angry towards the character, or irritated. In this novel I simply noted in the back of my head that she wasn’t the nicest. Then there was the guy that first warns Vance to not be so trustworthy of everyone, I don’t remember his name. The only name I remember is Vance’s because I looked it up. Anyway, that guy didn’t make me connect either.

The world building in this book was the only interesting concept, but sadly wasn’t enough. The idea of shapeshifters was cool, and I haven’t read many books with an idea alike to this one, unless you count werewolves as shapeshifters. There were also vampires, but all of those seemed slightly odd and detached. I found a few plot holes in the half of the novel I did read and there were some parts of the story the writing was more shaky than others. I’d have to reread a few passages to clarify what had just gone down.

I stuck through the book for a reasonably long time before I decided it wasn’t something I wanted to spend time with. I wish that I had given up the first time I DNFed so I wouldn’t have had to go through the shame of stopping again, but aw well. It makes me sad to write these words, knowing that I am turning away readers from this book by saying I didn’t enjoy it. The cover and premise is nice enough. There are redeeming qualities. However, they were not enough to hook me or connect me to the plot or characters, and in the end, I couldn’t do it anymore. Maybe other readers will have more success? Please realize I’m not trying to bash the book or say it’s not worth buying, but these are my opinions, and I didn’t enjoy the story. I would recommend this to fans of middle grade; the writing reminded me of middle grade more so than YA in its simplicity and fantasy. I think that there are readers who will like this. But not lovers of action or romance or intrigue like I am, unfortunately.

UPDATE: found this out after the review! This is a companion/spin-off sort of novel! This makes more sense, now I understand why they didn’t explain the world as much before diving in. I can’t see myself reading the first book of this series still. But there you go.

Notable Scene:

Maybe later I could find her, and explain, and ask forgiveness. She had been upset and had lashed out…

No. She wouldn’t have hurt me that way if she cared about me the way I cared about her. I was a nuisance. Clutter.

The Maeve’ra Series:

1. Bloodwitch

2. Bloodkin (April 14, 2015)

3. Bloodtraitor (2016)

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FTC Advisory:  Delecorte Press/Random House provided me with a copy of Bloodwitch.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: The Kraken King (Parts 1 – 6) by Meljean Brook

January 20th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Steph under Review Tags: Meljean Brook, Review, Romance, Steampunk, The Iron Seas Series, The Kraken King

KrakenTitle: The Kraken King

Author: Meljean Brook

Genre: Steampunk Romance

Series: Iron Seas (Book #4)

Publication Date: November 4, 2014

Format: Paperback, 576 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425256057 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425256053 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Steph

Synopsis:

A former smuggler and thief, Ariq—better known as the Kraken King—doesn’t know what to make of the clever, mysterious woman he rescues from an airship besieged by marauders. Unsure if she’s a spy or a pawn in someone else’s game, Ariq isn’t about to let her out of his sight until he finds out…

After escaping her fourth kidnapping attempt in a year, Zenobia Fox has learned to vigilantly guard her identity. While her brother Archimedes is notorious for his exploits, Zenobia has had no adventures to call her own—besides the stories she writes.

But when she jumps at the chance to escape to the wilds of Australia and acquire research for her next story, Zenobia quickly discovers that the voyage will be far more adventurous than any fiction she could put to paper…

Quick & Dirty: A woman craving adventure finds herself getting almost more than she can handle when she’s rescued by a man who quickly becomes fascinated by her.

Opening Sentence: If this letter is in your hands instead of on my desk where I left it, you must have flown to Fladstrand without first collecting your correspondence in Port Fallow–where the note I sent to you would have saved you a trip.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I’m a huge fan of Meljean Brook, especially of her Guardians series. So I was very excited to read and review The Kraken King, even though I haven’t yet read book 3 in the Iron Seas series. Thankfully, reading book 3 was not necessary, and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the segments that make up this serial book.

Zenobia Fox loves writing her adventure stories, but something’s missing. She wants to experience an adventure of her own, not live vicariously through the tales of her brother and his wife. In hopes of finding adventure, Zenobia agrees to accompany a friend on a journey. Little does Zenobia know just how much adventure she will find on this trip. Their airship is attacked, and they are forced to jump overboard. Happily, they are rescued by a mysterious stranger and his companions. Upon reaching the shore, Zenobia is shocked to discover their rescuer is none other than the infamous Kraken King, a man who has a reputation for not letting go of something (or someone) if it’s caught his interest, and as luck would have it, he has set his sights on Zenobia…

Meljean Brook always creates wonderful characters, and the characters here are no exception. Ariq is an alpha male in the very best way: completely in charge but without a cocky attitude to ruin everything. He often mentions having an iron will, and he uses that in his dealings with Zenobia. It makes him remarkably attractive. He may have officially made my book boyfriends list!

I love that Zenobia doesn’t let herself become super flustered by Ariq’s attention. Unlike a lot of virgins in romance novels, she accepts the attention/attraction and looks at it as a different kind of adventure. She’s definitely not your average heroine!

This story was originally published in serial form, and I only currently have access to parts one through six. These six parts are wonderfully well done, full of action and pulse pounding romance. I have no doubt that parts seven and eight are equally well done, and I can’t wait to get my hands on them!

Notable Scene:

“What sort of bow?”

Turning the book around, Helene tapped her finger alongside a drawing of a man bending over at the waist so far that his forehead was almost level with his feet.

She was supposed to fold herself in half? “That’s not physically possible.”

“It’s important,” Helene stressed, though when she glanced down at the figure, a little crease formed between her brows, as if she were also wondering how to attain the position without toppling over. “Failing to bow is a slap against his honor–and a man who is dishonored will kill himself.”

“If someone doesn’t bow?” At Helene’s solemn nod, Zenobia stared at her in disbelief. This had to be utter nonsense. “Will he do it at that very moment?”

“Yes.” Helene pinched the first fifty or sixty pages of the book between her fingers. “All of this explains how critical it is not to insult a man’s honor.”

How unfortunate for any men who crossed paths with Zenobia, then. She sometimes gave offense when she didn’t mean to–though when she did give offense, she usually meant to. Upon reaching the Red City, however, she might inadvertently leave a trail of corpses in her wake.

“That custom favors women, I think,” Zenobia said. “If a husband strays or if he proves a disappointment, the wife only has to refrain from bowing and she is quickly free of him.”

The Iron Seas:

1. The Iron Duke

2. Heart of Steel

3. Riveted

4. The Kraken King

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FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of The Kraken King. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Silver Skin by D.L. McDermott

January 19th, 2015 @ 3:00 pm
Posted by Steph under Review Tags: Cold Iron Series, D.L. McDermott, Paranormal Romance, Review, Silver Skin

silver skinTitle: Silver Skin

Author: D.L. McDermott

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Cold Iron (Book #2)

Publication Date: April 14, 2014

Format: eBook, 369 Pages

ISBN-10: 1476734402 (Simon & Schuster)

ISBN-13: 978-1476734408 (Simon & Schuster)

Reviewed by: Steph

Synopsis:

Helene Whitney has been losing time. Not losing track of time, but missing hours, finding whole blank spaces in her day she can’t account for. A year ago she would have put it down to overwork and exhaustion, but that was before she found out about the Good Neighbors, the Fair Folk, the Beautiful People, the Fae.

Ancient, immortal, tricksy and cruel, these creatures out of myth and legend rule the Irish enclaves of South Boston and Charlestown, and one of them has been using magic to abduct and control Helene for hours every day, gaining access to the collection at her museum and searching for ancient objects of Fae power.

Now, Helene’s only hope of escaping this unknown assailant lies with the Fae sorcerer, Miach MacCecht, a man she knows she can never trust—and who may prove impossible to resist.

Quick & Dirty: Helene wants nothing more to do with the Fae. Unfortunately, fate doesn’t seem to care what she wants…

Opening Sentence: Helene Whitney was losing time.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in this series, so I was very happy to discover that I was going to get to read book two. Thankfully, this book did not disappoint. In fact, I thought it was even better than the first one! There was a point where I absolutely did not want to put the book down! It’s always great to find a book that makes you feel that way.

Helene wants absolutely nothing to do with the Fae after the events of book one, especially Miach MacCecht. Unfortunately, he may be the only person who can help her. She’s losing time, finding herself waking up in places she can’t remember going to, and worries that somehow a Fae is messing with her. When she tries to tell her friend Beth, she finds that the words won’t come out of her mouth. She can’t even email the words to her! With Beth currently in Ireland, Helene’s last resort is to turn to the Fae she least wants to see: Miach.

Miach has been searching for a reason to see Helene again, as he can’t get her out of his mind. Imagine his surprise when she actually turns up on his doorstep. Miach confirms Helene’s worst fear when he finds a geas marked on her shoulder, confirming that a Fae has been using her for an unknown purpose. Miach suspects the purpose is to bring down the gate between this world and the world where most Fae have been trapped for years. Not wanting that to happen, he must find out who is behind this before it’s too late and hell reigns on earth. Can he get Helene to trust him enough though to help her?

While I liked the characters in the first book, I absolutely loved Miach and Helene in this one! Miach doesn’t come off as cold as some of his Fae brethren do, which makes it much easier to like him than it was to like the hero of the first book. I loved his sense of humor and how he’s devoted to his family. Helene is the kind of heroine I love: completely self sufficient, not needing a man to complete her, but who also has a really soft side. She seemed to pair greatly with Miach, and the chemistry between them is incredible! I’m an admitted sucker for a story where the hero and heroine start off feeling antagonistic towards each other, but eventually have no choice but to give in to their attraction to the other, and this story fit the bill!

The only negative thing I can really say is there were some parts towards the beginning of the story that were repetitive (two narrators going over basically the same information). But in the end, that was just a minor annoyance and really didn’t make me enjoy the book any less. Overall, I was totally engaged from beginning to end, and I can’t wait to read book 3!

Notable Scene:

He forged up the stairs. Pain shot through his body as soon as his foot struck the first riser, but he ground his teeth and kept going, taking the stairs two or three at a time. They shook with his passage. Halfway up the first flight he was already slowing. He sucked in a breath, and his lungs burned. Iron filings. Iron dust. Sifting up through the air. More than possible to be formed from disuse and decay. Someone had scattered pounds of the stuff on the stairs.

Enough to kill most Fae. Not cleanly, either, but slowly, agonizingly, blighting and poisoning every cell in the body. He held his breath and kept going. Up another step, and another. He reached the landing, turned, could not go on without taking another deadly breath. The iron dust seared his lungs, his chest convulsed. He forced himself up the next flight, to the door to the roof, and then out.

More iron filings dusted the ground in a circle radiating out from the door. He staggered through it, to the cleaner ground beyond, then crumpled to his knees on the gravel. The pain was nearly blinding, but he could see Helene at the other end of the roof.

Her back was to Miach. She was walking, purposefully, toward the parapet. He called out to her, his voice a hollow rasp, no power left in it. “Helene, turn around, come back.”

It would have been an irresistible command, if he wasn’t dying, if all of his power wasn’t locked in his body trying to hold back the inevitable.

She didn’t even pause. It was as though she couldn’t hear him at all. Because she was obeying a deeper summons from the Fae who had ensorcelled her. Who had commanded her to climb the stairs to the roof, to walk to the edge, and who, in a moment, would tell her to jump.

He must stop her, physically, and he would never make it to her in time. He could barely stand, and she was already climbing onto the rampart over the asphalt parking lot. Six stories up. And he was on his knees, trying desperately to summon his magic. If the building had been hewn stone or wood he could have borrowed its strength, but the steel and glass gave him nothing.

Miach watched, helpless, as Helene Whitney prepared to jump to her death.

Cold Iron Series:

1. Cold Iron

2. Silver Skin

3. Stone Song

4. Blade Dance (September 21, 2015)

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FTC Advisory: Pocket/Simon and Schuster provided me with a copy of Silver Skin. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Event Announcement: KissCon in Sarasota, FL!

January 19th, 2015 @ 2:00 pm
Posted by Kristie under Event Tags: Avon KissCon

Dark Faerie Tales has learned about an awesome event for romantic book fans in Sarasota, Florida. The Avon Books’ KissCon! Jeaniene Frost is going to be there! I wish I lived nearby so I could go to what I am sure is a spectacular event!

Avon KissCon

What does KissCon entail? A group of *amazing* Avon authors will be doing a signing, a Q&A, and fun, interactive events with the audience. There will be prizes, raffles, and so much more in the way of romancey goodness! Authors attending include Julia Quinn, Maya Banks, Jeaniene Frost, Katharine Ashe, Lena Diaz, Megan Frampton, Laura Lee Guhrke, C.J. Kyle, Kerrelyn Sparks, and C. L. Wilson! Attendance includes a ticket to the VIP author mingle reception, a book, and loads of amazing KissCon goodies.

Tickets to Avon Books’ KissCon VIP events are $25 per person, and include:
  • An exclusive Avon KissCon swag bag, filled with gifts and goodies, and a surprise free book for each attendee. (Minimum value: $25)
  • Decadent wine tastings provided by Little Black Dress Wine.
  • One market novel of choice by the featured authors. (Option to choose title provided at checkout).
  • Catered afternoon reception.
  • Unparalleled author interaction in a private setting.
  • Interactive author event.
  • Hosted Book Signing on-site.

For more information and to buy tickets, please visit AvonKissCon’s website!

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